Congress authorizes commemorative coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events, and institutions. Although these coins are legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation. Each commemorative coin is produced by the United States Mint in limited quantity and is only available for a limited time.
The modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, although the first US Commemorative coin can be considered the 1892-93 Columbian Exposition half dollar. There were many Commemorative coins issued in the early 1900's as well.